SUNRISE ON MT COOKE
Bibbulmun Day 5: Monday April 9, 2018
Km 103.7 – 132.7 (29 km)
Mt Cooke Campsite – Gringer Creek Campsite
Another beautiful starlit night. Mt Cooke campsite is close to Albany Highway which is really busy. So allnight long there was traffic noise. My mission today was to see the sunrise on Mt Cooke and to beat the predicted late afternoon rain before reaching camp. Gringer Creek campsite was 29 km away and the White Horse Hills campsite was another 16.7km away. I knew it would be stretch to reach White Horse Hills.
I left camp before 6 and was rewarded by a beautiful sunrise from the top of Mt Cooke. The green of the forest below seem to stretch to the east as far as I could see. The sunrise was reflected in a beautiful pink colour off the huge granite boulders which line to the top of Mt Cooke. An eagke siared effirtless above me as I stood watching the day come alive.
There was sprinkling of rain as I headed off from the top of Mt Cooke and followed a powerline easement. The rain sprinkling did not last long and the sun started to break through the clouds.
While walking along the power-line there was a constant hum of traffic noise. The trail left the power-line and the traffic noise receded. I reached Nerang Campsite at 9am feeling happy with my progress. In the 16km from Nerang to almost Gringer Creek Camp the trail passes through forest that has had a recent prescribed burn. The torched landscape made for pretty uninspiring hiking. A small highlight in this section was seeing a few under-story plants coming back to life – that provided a pop of colour.
I saw the back of quite a few kangaroos who seem to get startled and take off pretty quickly. The clouds were darkening as was my mood. I tried all the usual tricks to perk up but my aching heels would not shut up. I was resigned to stopping at Gringer Creek campsite as I really did not think I had the energy to make it further. I still had 5km to reach camp when I decided this and from here time started to slow. It was like hiking through molasses. The trailside vegetation improved significantly as I left the burn area and descended the 1km to camp. Numerous stands of flowering Banksia shrubs lined the trail. I reached camp at 1pm just as the first rain shower started.
I felt defeated by the trail today. At the campsite I found some track notes. The section from Gringer Creek Camp to White Horse Hills is described as one of the more challenging sections of the Track. So I’m kind of please that I stopped here, I will be fresh for the challenge tomorrow.
I did not put up a tent but stayed inside the shelter instead. The rain did not persist and blue sky returned. I spent the rest of the day tending to my aching heels and reading an Agatha Christie novel I found at the shelter.